Walsh: Annual Dam Ride set for Sept. 8-9

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With the exception of a few rough spots in Ohiopyle State Park, the Great Allegheny Passage is in good shape for That Dam Ride from Boston, Pa., or Connellsville to Confluence. The 14th annual two-day ride, bordered by the Youghiogheny River, will be held Sept. 8-9.

I joined two veteran cyclists last week who were pleased with the condition of the passage between Boston and Confluence, thanks to the efforts of local trail groups who cleared the passage of downed trees and branches brought down by high winds during recent thunderstorms.

That Dam Ride is a 138-mile round trip from Boston and a 60-mile round trip from Connellsville. The deadline for registration, which can be made online, is midnight Friday. The fully supported ride is organized by the Mon/Yough Trail Council.

Although previous participants have ranged in age from 5 to 83, the average age is mid- to upper-40s, the council said. The ride usually has 40-45 riders a18 and younger. The male/female ratio is 55/45.

"We have assumed that riders can maintain an average speed of 8-12 mph in order to make all the rest stops," the council said.

Energy drinks and snacks will be available Saturday at rest stops in Cedar Creek Park, Connellsville and Ohiopyle and Sunday in Connellsville and Cedar Creek Park. Lunch will be served both days in Connellsville.

The $75 per person cost includes rest stop fare, two lunches and a spaghetti dinner that includes a salad, dessert and beverages at Trinity Lutheran Church in Confluence. Riders won't leave hungry.

The fee also includes entertainment by Waldo Young, a T-shirt, light breakfast items Sunday and transportation of personal gear to and from Boston or Connellsville.

Proceeds will be used for trail maintenance and related activities and to support nine nonprofits that provide volunteer support and services for the ride.

Overnight accommodations are available at the Outflow Campground maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the base of the dam in Confluence, the local fire hall ($10 a space), B&Bs and guest houses.

Troop 15 of the Boy Scouts will loan tents, set them up and take them down for a small donation. The Scouts also sell ham, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches Sunday for $2.50. Sisters' Café, Sweetie's Bakery and Hartman's Service Center also will be open for breakfast.

The ride is sponsored by Levin Furniture, Equitable Gas, REI, Atlas Resource Partners, West Newton Bicycle Shop, Mueller Appraisals, The Medicine Shoppe, Road ID, Big Bang Bicycles and Confluence Cyclery.

For more information: www.thatdamride.org.

In the top10

The travel editors of National Geographic selected the Great Allegheny Passage as one of the world's 10 best places to get away this autumn.

They said the almost completed crushed limestone trail from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md., is enjoyed by bicyclists, hikers, strollers and birders. They encourage readers to "spend a weekend or a full week exploring part of the route and the historic trail town along the way."

The listing, which features a photograph by Paul Wiegman, places the passage in the company of destinations in England (Portsmouth), Italy, Japan, Poland and New Zealand. Portsmouth, birthplace of Charles Dickens, is home to the Pickwick Bicycle Club, the oldest bicycling club in the world.

For more information: www.nationalgeographic.com; www.gaptrail.org.

Catching up

If you missed "A Bicyclist's Lament: Imperfect Humans Drive Cars" by Bob Firth (Aug. 12); "Stiffer Penalties Ahead for Fatal Pennsylvania Hit-and-Run Accidents" by Clara Ritger (Aug. 13) or "In Pittsburgh Accidents, Bicyclists Not Always to Blame" by Andrew McGill (Aug. 16), find them at www.post-gazette.com.

sportsother - outdoors

Larry Walsh writes about recreational bicycling for the Post-Gazette.


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